IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 02nd April 2019
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
India gets surveillance satellite
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Science and Technology; Space Missions
- India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C45) launched EMISAT and 28 international customer satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR in Sriharikota.
- It is the 47th mission of the Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) program.
- This flight marked the first mission of PSLV-QL, a new variant of PSLV with four strap-on motors.
Do you know?
- The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)-C45 was launched with a payload of 29 satellites, including EMISAT for electronic intelligence, along with 28 customer satellites from other countries.
- EMISAT: EMISAT is a satellite built around ISRO’s Mini Satellite-2 bus weighing about 436 kg. The satellite is intended for electromagnetic spectrum measurement.
- The 28 international customer satellites, together weighing about 220 kg, are from four countries, namely, Lithuania (2), Spain (1), Switzerland (1) and USA (24). These foreign satellites were launched as part of commercial arrangements.
- So far, PSLV has launched 46 national satellites, 10 satellites built by students from Indian Universities and 297 international customer satellites, including the satellites launched today.
- In its next mission, PSLV-C46 will launch RISAT-2B in May 2019.
What makes PSLV-C45 special?
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Science and Technology; Space Missions
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the PSLV-C45 rocket that carried one Indian and 28 international satellites into space.
- It was the first time ISRO launched a rocket that injected satellites in three different orbits.
- The fourth and last stage of the rocket will function as a satellite itself for some time, instead of being rendered junk after ejecting its payloads.
- The fourth stage is what remains of the rocket after most of it is discarded — in three stages — during the flight to reduce weight, after running out of the propellant they carry.
- The rocket carried four strap-on motors.
Do you know?
- Strap-ons are booster rockets attached externally to the main rocket, and provide additional thrust, or energy, by firing themselves midway during the flight. In earlier flights, ISRO has used two or six strap-on motors.
- The four extra-large strap-ons used this time reduced the overall weight while still delivering the power equivalent to six motors.
- ISRO holds the world record for carrying the number of satellites on a single launch vehicle — 104 on PSLV C-37 in February 2017.
- However, so far, these satellites have been ejected in two different orbits at the most. Three orbits, therefore, is a first.
Significance of the achievement
- Reaching three different orbits gives ISRO a new technological edge.
- It demonstrated its capability to reuse the fourth-stage engines multiple times, and also showed that the guidance and navigation systems aboard the launch vehicle could be used for much longer times than in earlier missions.
- In practical terms, it will help ISRO pack its future rockets with multiple satellites even if they require to be placed in very diverse but precise orbits. Currently, this could be done only in multiple missions.
Significance of using the fourth stage as a satellite
- The rocket, or the launch vehicle, is only a carrier.Once it places its passenger, or satellite, to its designated orbit in space, it becomes practically useless, adding to the space debris.
- For the last few years, ISRO had been planning to give some life to the rocket at least to the uppermost part, or the last stage which remains with the satellite till the ejection.
- The lower parts of the rocket are in any case discarded in the earlier stages and become junk.
- There is no way to put them to any use. The uppermost stage, however, can be used, at least temporarily. Previously, they would end up in some orbit to wander aimlessly and endlessly.
What purpose will it serve?
- The fourth stage is carrying three kinds of equipment to carry out some measurements and experiments, and a solar panel to provide power to these equipments and enable communication with ground stations.
- One kind of instrument can be used to capture messages transmitted from ships, another can be used by amateur radio operators use for tracking and monitoring position data, and the third can study the structure and composition of the ionosphere.
How long will it function?
- The fourth stage will not have the usual life of a satellite. It can remain alive only for a few weeks or a few months, since it is not equipped with a lot of other things that enable a satellite to exist for longer duration in outer space, like a radiation shield.
- However, this is still good enough time to carry out shorter duration experiments and data collection, like the three on-board instruments are meant to do.
- In future, such an “orbital platform”, as it is being described, can also be used to inject smaller satellites into orbits.
April and May to be warmer than normal, says IMD
According to India Meteorological Department (IMD) –
- Average maximum temperatures from April to June are likely to be warmer by half a degree in several places in central and northwest India.
- The forecast is in line with the IMD’s position in March, when it said March-May would be “warmer” than normal.
- The weather office also established the development of rain busting El Nino over the Pacific Ocean which will persist till June this year.
- The persistence of the phenomenon could negatively impact the June to September southwest monsoon season which delivers 70% of the country’s annual rainfall.
Do you know?
About El Nino and La Nina
- El Niño and La Nina are opposite phases of what is known as the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle
- The ENSO is a recurring climatic pattern involving temperature changes in the waters of the eastern and central tropical Pacific Ocean, and changes in the patterns of upper and lower level winds, sea level pressure and tropical rainfall across the Pacific Basin.
- El Nino is often called the warm phase and La Nina is called the cold phase of ENSO These deviations from the normal surface temperatures can have a large-scale impact on the global weather conditions and overall climate
- El Nino refers to the large-scale ocean-atmosphere climate interaction linked to a periodic warming in sea surface temperatures across the central and east-central Equatorial Pacific. It is associated with high pressure in the western Pacific. El Nino adversely impacts the Indian monsoons and hence, agriculture in India.
- The cool surface water off the Peruvian coast goes warm because of El Nino When the water is warm, the normal trade winds get lost or reverse their direction Hence, the flow of moisture-laden winds is directed towards the coast of Peru from the western Pacific (the region near northern Australia and South East Asia)
- This causes heavy rains in Peru during the El Nino years robbing the Indian subcontinent of its normal monsoon rains The larger the temperature and pressure difference, the larger the rainfall shortage in India.
Earth Hour and World Wide Fund for Nature
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Environment and Climate Change; Role of international organizations
- Famous monuments across the world went dark on March 31st night to observe the World Wide Fund for Natures Earth Hour to spark global awareness and action on nature and the environment.
- Since 2007, Earth Hour has been a movement to bring awareness to climate change, while promoting action to preserve the climate and environment
- Earth Hour 2019 with its campaign #connect2Earth aims to create awareness regarding the importance of saving nature as our lives depend on its health.
- Participation will mark Earth Hour by switching off unnecessary lights for the hour to symbolise a commitment to change beyond the hour.
- Starting as a symbolic lights out event in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour is now the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment, inspiring millions of people to take action for our planet and nature
About World Wide Fund for Nature:
- It is international non-governmental organization working in the field of the wilderness preservation and reduction of human impact on the environment
- It was formerly named World Wildlife Fund
- It is world’s largest conservation organization with over five million supporters worldwide, working in more than 100 countries, supporting around 1,300 conservation and environmental projects.
- It was founded in 1961 and is headquartered in Gland Switzerland
- WWF aims to stop degradation of planet’s natural environment and build future in which humans live in harmony with nature.
- Currently, its work is organized around these six areas food, climate, freshwater, wildlife, forests, and oceans.
- It publishes Living Planet Report every two years since 1998, based on Living Planet Index and ecological footprint calculation.
Core sector growth quickens to 2.1% in Feb.
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Indian Economy and issues related to it; Growth and Development
- Core sector growth accelerated in February to 2.11% from the 1.5% in January, snapping a three-month slowing trend.
- Growth had come in at 4.74% for October 2018, 3.38% for November and 2.64% for December.
- Within the Index of Eight Core Industries, the crude oil sector contracted sharply in February, by 6.16%, compared with a contraction of 4.37% in January. The natural gas sector saw growth slowing to 3.7% from 6.21% over the same period.
- After recording a high single-digit growth of 7.3% in July 2018, core sector has consistently recorded a growth of low single-digit indicating weakness in the industrial growth.
- The cement sector saw growth at 8.04% in February, lower than the 11% growth in January. The coal sector witnessed growth accelerating in February to 7.26% from 1.74% in January.
- The refinery products sector saw a contraction of 0.74% in February, as compared with a contraction of 2.58% in January. The fertilizer sector also saw growth slowing drastically in February to 2.54% from 10.5% in January.
- The steel sector’s growth slowed in February to 4.87% from 5.52% in January. Growth in the electricity sector remained flat at 0.73% in February compared with 0.8% in January.
Index of Industrial Production (IIP)
- Prepared by the Central Statistics Office
- To measure the activity happening in three industrial sectors namely Mining, Manufacturing, and Electricity.
- It is the benchmark index and serves as a proxy to gauge the growth of manufacturing in India since manufacturing alone has a weight of 77.63 per cent in the index.
Eight Core Industries
- Coal, Crude Oil, Natural Gas, Refinery Product, Steel, Cement and Electricity are known as Core Industries.
- The Eight Core Industries comprise 40.27 per cent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
The 8 core industries are their relative weight in IIP is as below:
- Coal (weight: 4.38 %)
- Crude Oil (weight: 5.22 %)
- Natural Gas (weight: 1.71 %)
- Refinery Products (weight: 5.94%)
- Fertilizers (weight: 1.25%)
- Steel (weight: 6.68%)
- Cement (weight: 2.41%)
- Electricity (weight: 10.32%)
Ensuring access to justice
Taking a cue from Japan
Instead of only praising scientists, Opposition must debate policy challenges
Algeria could see a second Arab Spring